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Mase is a rapper that is either loved or hated by fans. His slow, often lazy flows are at the centre of this multi-faceted argument and are demonstrated on this album. Before Harlem World, Mase was a member of COC which also featured rappers Cam'ron and the super talented dead Big L. Their style was more hardcore and lyrical, however, to achieve mainstream success Mase had to switch his flow up for mass consumption on this debut. Mase is witty at times and sounds good but is not even in the running for a spot in the Top 10. He is often over shadowed by his contempories and sometimes becomes a guest on his own album. Another fault is that the album contains many filler songs which ruin what otherwise could have been a solid body of work. Some standout moments are on the posse cuts such as 24 hours to live and Would they die for you, where people get to see some East Coast rap music at it's finest. Love U so is a classic favorite of mine but will not go down well with people who enjoy lyricism and detest R&B hooks. The weak points such as Lookin at Me and Jealous Guys only illustrate and highlight what the listener knows already; the artist has a lot of potential but is often lazy and hypocrital.
In 1997, months after the death of he Notorious B.I.G>, another name out of the Bd Boy camp chose to step things up, and so with "Harlem World", Mase was able to do this and show that despite the tragedy, the label wouldn't go down. It has him on beats from the likes of Puffy, Jermaine Dupri and The Neptunes, and it features 112, DMX and Busta Rhymes amongst many others.
1. "Puff's Intro"
2. "Do You Wanna Get $?"
Here you have a fly cut form him to get into the swing of things for the album as you get a track which brings you right into his world where the only really focus for him is getting to money, and if this isn't where people want to be taking their life, then he doesn't have a clue why they would bother with whatever they are on. It is a fun opener, and draws you in for the rest of it.
3. "Take What's Yours"
Taking into consideration that this features DMX, a rapper still yet to release his debut album, it was creating hype of this act and has him doing his shocking hardcore rap stuff where he inputs his Horrorcore stuff to get into your head how demented he is. I wasn't a fan of this, and so it wasn't really working for me as I heard it coming through to some degree in Mase's flows.
4. "Mad Rapper" (Lude)
5. "Will They Die For You?"
On this one you find that he does a track which deals with the issue of finding out exactly who true friends are. This is done in a thought-provoking manner by giving you examples of people who would claim to be down for you, but you aren't sure whether they would actually go that extra distance to show that they would do anything for you. It is pretty dark, and shows quite a bit of depth already form the artist.
1. "Lookin' At Me"
Here you find that The Neptunes produce the thing, and when you take into consideration that it was dropped at a time when the futurist duo (consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) were just about to blow up and shoot to popularity R&B and Hip Hop production world. It is a pretty fly one with him rapping with Puff about how they cheat, as long as their woman doesn't know its going on.
7. "White Girl" (Lude)
8. "Love U So"
Whilst taking on classic material from Janet Jackson, this one has thing go for the more commercial stuff as he takes things in a different direction by choosing to do one where he attempts to get the girls o his side, and show what sort of appeal he has to them. It is a nice and uplifting one, and stands out as a result (especially considering the type of thing which can earlier).
9. "The Player Way"
On this one you have Mase working with some future Bad Boy signees as the Memphis Hip Hop vets 8Ball & MJG join him and let the world know exactly how to go about life in what they consider to be "The Player Way". It stands out with the southern twist, and it means that you have to look at it in a different way as it shows diversity from Mase.
10. "Hater" (Lude)
11. "N***az Wanna Act"
With Busta Rhymes provoking what are essentially pointless adlibs, this one get the rapper stepping up and choosing to take on all the hate which he receives by doing a track which challenges all these people whether they actually want to battle against him. In order to intimidate them he gives examples of why they shouldn't and explains how people should act around him.
12. "Feels So Good"
Sampling Kool & The Gang's "Hollywood Swinging", this is a classic ct from him, and the track which I'm sure most people know him for. They really couldn't have used a better sample to base things on as the seventies Funk groove, and with it they come up with a funky tune which was made specifically for the clubs for people to boogie down to.
13. "What You Want"
This one is one of the best singles from Mase, and it really stands out for what goes down here as the Bad Boy female R&B group step up to join him on the hook, and with the assistance of Total, you have a banger of a cut as he shows that he is able to take it to the smoother, and more commercial work to bring out the highest standards of things. It is a banger, and far above a lot of the rest of the things you get here.
14. "Phone Conversation" (Lude)
15. "Cheat On You"
On some beats from Atlanta's JD (Jermaine Durpi,) you have him with Junior M.A.F.I.A's Lil' Cease and Jay-Z on another cut which has them capitalise on their ability to move into the gentler material. You have 112 singing the hook, and it finds them speaking on how people should be aware that just as they do, women can cheat to, and will if they act up.
16. "24 Hours To Live"
This is the most thought-provoking track on the album, and you simply cannot deny this. It has Puff act as the host to the tune and brings up the subject matter of what you would do if you knew you only had an hour of your life yet. With Mase joined by DMX, The L.O.X. and Black Rob, you have them mostly stick to killing haters and having sex as much as they possibly can, but you also get a few deeper things which really make you think more about them and who they really are.
17. "I Need To Be"
Here you have him slowing things down as he chooses to go for a track which has him taking it to the bedroom with his girl. It is a smooth one from the rapper, but I wouldn't say that it is really as good as many other which you get on here, and in fact it results in it being a pretty straight-forward, decent one with no real lift to it, and this is the case from this point, onwards.
18. "Watch Your Back" (Lude)
19. "Wanna Hurt Mase?"
Just as what you got from the early stages of the album, you have the rapper return to focusing the lyrics upon his Gangsta Rap side as does one where he asks who would want to take him on, as it had been heard earlier, it wasn't as impactful as before, and I feel that this effected the potential quality which could have come had it been placed earlier on in the track listings.
20. "Jealousy Guy"
If you know Notorious B.I.G.'s "Playa Hata", from the "Life After Death" album, then you will know where Mase is coming from on this one as you get Mase doing one where he drops the singing as he ends it and chooses to do one where he sings. It's not really that enjoyable, and I can't see the point really.
This album varies quite a bit and it holds it back as he comes off a series of big tunes into a range of poor ones which really drag things down. It is really the production and guests who give this the boost, and not really the rapper himself, but I wouldn't say its that weak at all.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Puff's Intro - Mase
2 Do You Wanna Get Dollars - Mase & Puff Daddy
3 Take What's Yours - Mase & DMX
4 Mad Rapper - Mase
5 Will They Die 4 You - Mase & Puff Daddy/Lil' Kim
6 Lookin' At Me - Mase & Puff Daddy
7 White Girl - Mase
8 Love U So - Mase & Billy Lawrence
9 Player Way - Mase & 8-Ball/MJG
10 Hater - Mase
11 Niggaz Wanna Act - Mase & Busta Rhymes
12 Feel So Good - Mase
13 What You Want - Mase & Total
14 Phone Conversation - Mase
15 Cheat On You - Mase & Lil' Cease/Jay-Z
16 24 Hours To Live - Mase & The Lox/Black Rob/DMX
17 I Need To Be - Mase & Monifah
18 Watch Your Back - Mase
19 Wanna Hurt Mase - Mase
20 Jealous Guy - Mase & 112